The Supreme Court on Friday shifted to a Delhi court seven cases registered against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in Jharkhand and Bihar for promoting animosity among citizens by his alleged hate speeches against north Indians.
The MNS leader's plea to transfer cases out of the two states did not receive much opposition before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan which decided that all proceedings relating those cases will be heard before a trial court in Tis Hazari in the national capital.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the cases against Thackeray were "politically motivated" and there was apprehension that he would not get a fair trial in the two states.
The MNS chief had sought transfer of cases to neighbouring states of Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka or any courts in the country except in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
After senior advocate Ajit Kr Sinha and Gopal Singh, appearing for the complainants, said they have no objection in the cases being transferred to Tis Hazari court in Delhi, the Bench passed the order.
Rohatgi submitted that the cases against Thackeray should be shifted to one place as has been done by the apex court while agreeing to the plea of noted painter M F Hussain against whom several cases were lodged by different persons at different places.
Rohatgi said since Thackeray was a political figure, the idea was to drag him to the courts by filing cases against him at different places.
He said all the seven cases were lodged by advocates practising in different courts in the two states. Out of the seven cases, five were registered in Jharkhand and two in Bihar since January 2008 when the MNS chief made the alleged speeches.
While in Jharkhand, two cases each were registered in Jamshedpur and Ranchi and one in Dhanbad, the cases in Bihar were lodged in Patna and Patna city.